The Armenian police have pressed charges against a man who opened fire outside a Yerevan court last week in protest against the trial of 14 anti-government activists who clashed with security forces last November.
Hayk Kyureghian, 31, fired gunshots towards police officers guarding the court moments after approaching journalists to express indignation at what he believes is an unfair trial. He was overpowered and detained by the policemen.
An ensuing police statement said that the gunfire left several officers injured. But it did not specify the type of the weapon used by the angry man. The latter claimed to have a gas pistol when he spoke to the press.
The police said on Monday that Kyureghian was formally charged with armed hooliganism and remanded in pre-trial custody on Saturday. The accusations carry between 4 and 7 years’ imprisonment. The 14 men, who attempted to stage an anti-government “revolution” in November, are standing trial on the same charges.
The day after his arrest Kyureghian was visited by a team of civil society members monitoring conditions in Armenian prisons and detention centers. According to the team leader, Hasmik Sahakian, he claimed to have been ill-treated during and after the arrest.
Sahakian said she noticed bruises on his arms. “He didn’t want to give details,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “He said he will speak about them later on.”
Kyureghian insisted on the torture claims when he met with representatives of human rights ombudsman Karen Andreasian’s office on Saturday. One of those officials, Armen Grigorian, said, “There were traces of violence on his body. Kyureghian said that he was beaten up at the police headquarters in Kentron [district.]”